Slimming World Ready Meals

Iceland Slimming World Chicken Saag ready meal

Back in 2016 Slimming World announced an exclusive deal with the Iceland supermarket to sell a range of Slimming World branded ready meals, soups and sauces.

The official instructions from Slimming World is that these meals are NOT required to follow the Food Optimising plan. It’s not like some companies that mandate that you buy their products in order to follow their diet. It’s perfectly possible to do Slimming World and never taste any of these Iceland products.

However, what they do say is that the foods are there if you need them.

We all lead busy lives, and sometimes it’s hard find the time to cook a healthy meal from scratch. Sometimes we only have a few minutes to grab something to eat after work before running out of the door again. And for those time, Slimming World says that these frozen ready-meals are available.

If they help avoid resorting to a takeaway or something else equally quick but unhealthy, then that’s a good thing!

And the best news about these Iceland Slimming World meals is that they are all syn-free!

The portions are also fairly generous, so you can feel like you’ve had a proper dinner (unlike with some other ready meals). And if you feel like trying to reproduce the meal at home, they print the recipe on the back of the packaging for you!

Iceland locations in Dublin

At the moment there are a few Iceland stores located around Dublin:

  • Ballyfermot, Dublin 10
  • Coolock, Dublin 17
  • Finglas, Dublin 11
  • Cabra, Dublin 7
  • Talbot Street, Dublin 1
  • Tallaght, Dublin 24

The stores aren’t always in a convenient locations, depending on where you live. I know I have to make a special journey across town to my nearest shop.

What about other supermarkets?

The deal to sell branded Slimming World meals is exclusive to Iceland, and other supermarkets are not allowed to sell products with the Slimming World name or with Syn-values listed.

That didn’t stop Aldi introducing their range of ‘SlimFree’ meals last year aimed at slimmers. Slimming World promptly threatened to sue them, and I believe the dispute is ongoing.

Aldi SlimFree Meatballs & Pasta ready meal

In the mean time the Aldi meals are a third cheaper than the Iceland ones, but we don’t have any official Syn values for them, as Slimming World refuses to list the Syn for these ‘SlimFree’ foods in their Syns Online database.

Price difference between UK and Ireland

The standard price for attending a Slimming World group in the UK is £4.95, while in Ireland the cost is €9.00.

The exchange rate at the moment between pounds and euros is around 1.13 euros to the pound. And so if we do a direct currency conversion of £4.95 into euros that would equate to €5.58.

So why are Irish members charged €9.00? That’s a 60% mark-up on top of the UK price!

Healthy Extras

In addition to all the free and speed foods you can eat on Slimming World, you have additional Healthy Extras – known as your Healthy Extra A (HEA) an Health Extra B (HEB).

What is my Healthy Extra A?

Your healthy extra A is a weighed and measured portion of dairy per day. The idea is to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet.

You can choose your own healthy extra A in the form of milk or cheese, and generally the lower the fat content then the bigger portion you’re allowed.

For instance, your health extra A can be either:

  • 350ml of skimmed milk
  • 300ml of 1% fat milk
  • 250ml of semi-skimmed milk
  • 175ml of whole milk

If you go over your allocation of ‘A’ then you need to syn it. However you can also share your ‘A’ between 2 or more things. For example, you can have half a portion of skimmed milk and half a portion of cheese.

What is my Health Extra B?

Your healthy extra B is a weighed and measured portion of fibre per day.

You can choose your own healthy extra B in the form of bread, cereal, cereal bars, HiFi bars, crispbread, crackers, cooked fruit, dried fruit, or tinned fruit. The portion size will vary depending upon the fibre and nutritional content.

For the bread, you’re allowed up to 60g of any wholemeal bread or roll. In general this means you can only have one slice as your ‘B’, unless you’re using a small (400g) loaf or ‘slimmers’ bread.

Other common choices are to use your ‘B’ for 40g of porridge, or to have 2 Slimming World HiFi bars. I sometimes use my ‘B’ on 5 scanbran.

As with your ‘A’ if you go over your allocation of ‘B’ then you need to syn it. And you can also share your ‘B’ between 2 or more things.

Exceptions

If you’re doing an SP day then you’re meant to eat two health extra Bs, to ensure you get enough fibre. I assume that’s because you’re potentially losing some fibre from not eating free foods.

If you’re pregnant you are allowed two healthy extra As and two healthy extra Bs. Additional As are also recommended for breast-feeding mums.

Also when you become a Target Member, you’re advised that you can increase your A and/or B over a period of time, as long as it doesn’t impact upon your ability to maintain your weight.

What is an SP day?

The initials in SP relate to the words Speed and Protein and, as the name suggests, the idea behind an SP day is to only eat speed and protein foods.

The standard Food Optimising plan says you can have whatever Free foods you want, as long as you have 1/3 speed on the plate.

The SP plan, however, is a bit different and says you can only have 1/2 Speed and 1/2 Protein at mealtimes. All the non-speed Free foods are excluded – the likes of potatoes, pasta, rice, and so on.

I don’t know the exact science behind it, but I suspect it’s about reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet to give your weight loss a boost. People sometimes decide to do SP days when they find their weight loss has slowed down or stagnated.

How often should I do SP?

Slimming World says that nobody is required to do SP days. You should be able to achieve a steady and maintainable weight loss by following the normal Extra Easy food optimising plan. However it is there as an option for anyone who feels they need it.

Doing SP is much more restrictive than doing the standard Slimming World plan, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it for more than 2-3 days in a row. It’s much more like a diet – rather than a health eating plan – so it’s not something that can be maintained long-term. But for short-term goals it might be useful.

How does SP work?

The thing to remember when doing SP is the half-and-half split between speed and protein. Because you’re reducing the carbs by cutting out the free foods you need to substitute it with more protein in order to still feel satisfied.

Some people are surprised at the amount of protein needed to fill half the plate, and may not be used to eating that amount of meat (or other protein).

However if you don’t eat enough protein and instead substitute in speed foods you could end up feeling hungry, and that’s not the idea with any of the Slimming World plans – because that’s when you fall off the wagon and eat your own body weight in sugar!

The SP plan says you should have:

  • Half and half speed and protein foods
  • The same 5-15 Syns as normal
  • One Healthy Extra A as normal
  • Two Healthy Extra Bs, as you probably need a bit of extra fibre

It’s allowed to have what would normally be free foods, but you need to Syn them – so that means weighing and measuring the free food, and looking up the Syn values.

Does it work?

Individual experiences will vary, but it generally can boost your weight loss. Personally I don’t like doing SP days – partly because I feel it is too restrictive, and partly because I just love potatoes, pasta and rice too much! So I don’t tend to bother doing it. However, I’ve heard some people in group that do it a regular thing – some of them for a couple of days every week.

The thing I guess is to read up on some SP recipes and give it a go. Try it for a day, and see how you feel. If it seems easy then you can do it regularly, or if (like me) it seems hard then have it in your back pocket for the odd occasion when you really need to pull it out of the bag!

Muller Lights are no longer free

Slimming World have announced changes to the Free and Syn value foods, and Muller Light yogurts are now 1 Syn each!

The changes that were announced on the Slimming World website mean that some foods that were previously Free now have a Syn value:

  • Muller Light (175g pot) is now 1 Syn
  • Danone Activia 0% Fat (125g pot) is now 1/2 Syn
  • Instant Mash Potato (100g made up) is now 3 1/2 Syns
  • Canned Pasta Shapes in Tomato Sauce (100g) is now 1/2 Syn

The new Syn values will be updated on the online tools over the next week, and will be in the new version of the Food Optimising book in 2019.

Impact of these changes

There are a lot of people that rely on the fat free yogurts – both as a snack on it’s own, and as an ingredient to such Slimming World favourites as overnight oats and oat pancakes.

The Instant Mash Potato is also a used a fair bit at a ‘tweak’ food, as a coating in place of breadcrumbs, a thickener for soups and sauces, or a flour substitute in recipes. So the new syn value could affect all of these uses.